The Foundations of American Nationality

By Evarts Boutell Greene | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XIV
EXPANSION IN THE SOUTH

IN the last decade of the seventeenth century, the southern colonies were in various stages of development. On Chesapeake Bay, Maryland and Virginia were securely established, -- both for the time being under royal governments. In the tidewater section of these provinces, the colonial experience of three generations had taken shape in institutions, economic, political, and religious, whose main features were fairly well fixed. Half a century of remarkable growth was to follow, but largely on lines already indicated. With the struggling and isolated settlements to the southward, it was quite another story. Thirty years after the Carolina proprietors secured their first charter, this great province was only slightly developed. On its northern edge, a few frontiersmen were raising corn, tobacco, and live stock, with slight regard to the authority of the proprietors. Separated from these settlements by a long stretch of unoccupied coast line was Charleston, the nucleus of a somewhat more orderly community. This southern settlement, though favored by the proprietors, had hardly yet found itself economically or politically. In 1689, the Carolinas hardly numbered more than five thousand inhabitants between them. With two separate assemblies and no effective general government, their future political relations were still uncertain. Nominally Carolina extended to the twenty- ninth parallel; forty years passed, however, before the founding of Georgia definitely established British sovereignty beyond the Savannah.

Different Stages of development.

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